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PR 10 - Increased car use could damage Ecotowns' environmental credibility

27 February 2008

The environmental benefits delivered by Ecotowns could be undermined by increased car use if they're put in the wrong places, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Today (Wednesday) the Housing Minister, Caroline Flint, told the Ecobuild Conference that all Ecotowns would be subjected to \"robust and transparent\" scrutiny. She also announced that eventually every new building in Britain will have to be built to zero carbon specifications. This latest announcement follows a commitment that all homes built from 2016 must be zero carbon.

However, the RTPI has warned that any environmental positives delivered as a result of the creation of Ecotowns and promotion of carbon neutral buildings will be written off if the new developments lead to an increase in the length and number of car journeys.

RTPI Policy Director, Rynd Smith, said: \"We strongly support the Government's push to make development environmentally sustainable. But if carbon neutral developments are in areas where there are no public transport links, no jobs or services and nothing to do it won't matter how eco-friendly the buildings are because everyone who lives there will be spending most of their time behind the wheel of a car. This is particularly the case for Ecotowns which, if poorly placed, could end up miles from the supporting services communities require.

\"The Government needs to think about how it is going to put people in sustainable locations, not just sustainable buildings.\"

For further information please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager: 0207 929 9479, mob. 07870 672 020

Notes to Editors:

1. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work. As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865